ELMONT, N.Y. – In two winning starts over the Belmont Park main track, Tommy Town Thoroughbreds’ Victim of Love has displayed an affinity for the Nassau County oval and will vie to keep such ways intact in Friday’s 64th running of the Grade 3, $300,000 Bed o’ Roses for older fillies and mares going seven furlongs.
Trained by Todd Beattie, Victim of Love’s pair of winning starts at Belmont Park took place when sweeping the last two editions of the Grade 3 Vagrancy. She arrived at last year’s Vagrancy as the longest shot in a field which included graded stakes winners Come Dancing and Royal Charlotte, but handled the test with flying colors when capturing the 6 ½-furlong event by 1 ¾ lengths.
Following a next-out third in the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga, Victim of Love was out of action for over six months and returned in February with a runner-up finish in a Laurel Park optional claiming test. She successfully redeemed herself next out as the second betting choice in this year’s Vagrancy on May 8 with an outside stalking trip under Joel Rosario from second and fought gamely down the stretch to win by 2 ¼ lengths.
“She likes the going up there,” Beattie said. “She has tactical speed and Joel realized the pace was going slow. I thought he moved what might have been a little early for her, but it wasn’t [too early] because of the slow pace. They got the jump on things and boy is she tough to run down. She lays it on the line. They’re not going to creep by her, she’d dog ‘em, that’s for sure.”
Since her Vagrancy victory, Victim of Love has recorded only one serious work, travelling five furlongs in 1:00.60 at Penn National on May 28.
“I thought two works in 27 days would be a little bit of a squeeze,” Beattie said. “She gets a lot out of her daily training. She’s going to work every day, she just isn’t going for published workouts. If I try to squeeze two works in there, it would be a little hard for her. I think she gets more out of big, aggressive gallops and strong training.”
Victim of Love is out of the Awesome Again mare Spacy Tracy, who has produced all winners from five progeny of racing age, including graded stakes victress Benner Island and two-time stakes winner High North.
Rosario will pilot Victim of Love from post 5.
Trainer John Kimmel will seek to turn the tables on Victim of Love with Holly Hill Stables’ Pacific Gale, who was third in the Vagrancy.
After two full calendar years without a trip to the winner’s circle, the 6-year-old Flat Out mare ended a 17-race slump with an upset win in the Grade 2 Inside Information on January 23 at Gulfstream Park at 16-1 odds. She carried her newfound winning ways into another South Florida stakes conquest in the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie on March 20 en route to the Vagrancy.
Although winless throughout her 2019-20 seasons, Pacific Gale placed at graded stakes level five times prior to winning at such caliber.
Kimmel said changing some things up with her training pattern proved instrumental in Florida during the winter, including utilizing the jogging path at Palm Meadows Training Center.
“She really liked that a lot. We had to sort of improvise when we came back here. We do a lot of ‘around the world’,” Kimmel said. “They go on to the training track, jog to the pony shed, go on to the main track and sort of gallop all the way around the backstretch and come back past the starting gate and back on to the training track and finish up there.”
In the Vagrancy, Pacific Gale was a step slow coming out of the gate and hurried into contention while racing in between horses down the backstretch. She came with a late run in the final furlong, but just missed second a nose to Sadie Lady.
Kimmel said the slow start deterred her chances of winning.
“I thought she was a little compromised in her last start by some issues in the gate. That took her out of her running style,” Kimmel said. “I don’t see any reason why she shouldn’t fire another good one. She seems to be doing really well. Her color looks great and she’s eating great.”
Kimmel said Pacific Gale has always run solid races from a figures standpoint, but a combination of development and changing training technique have resulted in higher prosperity with the gallant mare.
“She really came into herself this year. If you look back on her numbers, she’s running similar numbers as she did in the past, but maybe the level of competition might have been a little bit tougher,” Kimmel said. “She’s getting a little more confident in herself. It’s been nice to see her come forward and win some graded stakes races because she hadn’t accomplished that. She placed in more than and a handful of them and to see her actually win some is great.”
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, a two-time Bed o’ Roses winner, retains the mount from post 7.
Bringing an unbeaten record in six starts is Daniel J. Lopez and George Chestnut’s Chub Wagon, who will make her graded stakes debut for trainer Guadalupe Preciado.
The Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Hey Chub broke her maiden for a $20,000 tag in November at Parx before notching two more victories at the Philadelphia oval. Chub Wagon won an optional-claiming sprint at the Big A in April and after defeating her Keystone State counterparts in the Unique Bella, she took her talents to Maryland where she won the Skipat on May 15.
For the first time in her career, she raced off the lead in the Skipat, tracking the pace from third and handled the new tactics with aplomb when capturing the six-furlong event by two lengths.
Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. was aboard for her open company stakes triumph and retains the mount from post 6.
Estilo Talentoso has proven herself a force to be reckoned with this season, arriving at the Vagrancy off two Grade 1 placings for trainer Juan Arriagada.
Never off the board in a baker’s dozen lifetime starts, the 4-year-old daughter of Maclean’s Music came from humble beginnings making her debut for a $16,000 tag in January 2020 at Gulfstream Park, but broke her maiden on sixth attempt at Gulfstream Park five months later at the South Florida oval. Her final start of last season was also her first stakes victory when capturing Gulfstream Park’s Escena on August 20 at a one-turn mile.
After finishing third in the Wayward Lass at Tampa Bay Downs in her year debut, Estilo Talentoso ventured outside the Sunshine State for the first time when second in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie at Laurel Park. She solidified her graded stakes placing when finishing a late-closing second to Kimari in the Grade 1 Madison at Keeneland, followed by a third in the Grade 1 Derby City Distaff at Churchill Downs.
Estilo Talentoso is owned by Medallion Racing, Barry Fowler, Parkland Thoroughbreds, Little Red Feather Racing and BlackRidge Stables.
Breaking from post 8, Estilo Talentoso will be piloted by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano.
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott sends out Lake Avenue, who will try to make amends after an uncharacteristic distant fourth as the favorite in the Grade 2 Ruffian on May 2.
The Godolphin-homebred daughter of Tapit out of multiple Grade 1-winner Seventh Street won the Grade 2 Demoiselle in December 2019 during her freshman campaign in gate-to-wire fashion.
After going winless in four starts as a 3-year-old, she displayed different tactics in her 4-year-old debut when coming five lengths off the pace after a slow start to defeat an optional claiming field going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park. The same dimensions were on conveyed in the next out Heavenly Prize Invitational on March 5 at Aqueduct, which she won by 6 ¾ lengths.
Breaking from post 1, Lake Avenue will be ridden by Junior Alvarado.
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey attempts his third Bed o’ Roses victory with Helen K. Groves and Helen Alexander’s Alandra, who is 2-for-2 over Big Sandy.
The homebred 4-year-old daughter of Blame arrives off a sharp optional claiming triumph going a one-turn mile on May 15 at Belmont, where she registered a career best 85 Beyer Speed Figure.
Third in the Grade 1 Alcibiades in October 2019 at Keeneland in her second career start, Alandra is out of the graded stakes-winning A.P. Indy mare Altesse and hails from the prominent broodmare line of Courtly Dee.
Jose Lezcano will be in the irons from post 3.
Completing the field are multiple graded stakes-placed Piedi Bianchi [post 2, Manny Franco] and last out allowance winner Baynerness [post 4, Luis Saez].
The Bed o’ Roses is named in honor of Alfred G. Vanderbilt’s dual champion, who earned title of Champion 2-Year-Old Filly in 1949 and was crowned Champion Older Mare two years later. Trained by Hall of Famer William Winfrey, Bed o’ Roses defeated colts in the 1950 Lawrence Realization travelling 1 5/8 miles. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1976.
The Bed o’ Roses is carded as Race 8 on Friday’s 11-race program at Belmont Park, First post is 12:50 p.m.
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Belmont Park Press Release
Photo: Victim of Love in Vagrancy, (NYRA/Coglianese)